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Leadership Tangipahoa

Press Releases

Date Press Release
11/25/2008 Farrah Laciura's Letter to the Editor on Economic Development Session

For Immediate Release:                                                                                   11/25/08
Contact:                                                                                                          Cheri Viola        

Dear Editor,

                On our recent day spent traveling throughout the parish with Leadership Tangipahoa, we focused on economic development in our region.  We started out our day full of excitement as Kim Notoriano met us at the Southeast Louisiana Business Center with a school bus to graciously chauffer us around all day.  We started out at Smitty’s Supply in Roseland.  I must say, being a native of Tangipahoa Parish all my life Smitty’s Supply is a household name.  It wasn’t until I started walking around this 18 acre facility that I began to grasp just exactly what Smitty’s was all about.  Mr. Raymond Cutrer greeted us at the door with fruit, bagels, juices and a brief history about Mr. Ed Smith and his journey to creating this magnificent company.  Many years ago, Mr. Smith purchased a van and some auto parts and was on his way to what is now a $200 million company with two warehouses totaling over 288 thousand square feet.  Mr. Cutrer went on to explain the assistance they received from grants procured with the help of Tangipahoa Economic Development Foundation to support the building of a railroad spur and the purchase of blow mold equipment as well as the job creation these grants allowed.  Everyone was fascinated to learn about this great jewel we have in Tangipahoa Parish.

                We continued on to the Southeast Louisiana Business Center where William Joubert, Bob Basford and Stacey Neal spoke to our group about economic development.  They each went into detail about how each organization works with other economic development groups to promote business growth and job creation. They also spoke about the process a business prospect goes through when trying to locate in Tangipahoa Parish as well as tax incentives for local businesses.  Congressman Steve Scalise honored us with his attendance and spoke to us about the national economy and the $700 billion bailout that Congress recently approved.  He also had some excellent ideas about improving the economy in the future.  We were grateful to all who spoke to us that day. 

                After this, Tangipahoa Economic Development Foundation and Hammond Industrial Development Board treated us to a wonderful meal from Old McDonalds Smokehouse.  I am speaking for the entire class when I say we thoroughly enjoyed the lunch that these organizations provided.

                Lastly we rode over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and were greeted by Mr. Jason Ball, Airport Director.  Mr. Ball gave us a brief history of the Hammond Northshore Regional Airport and introduced us to Mr. Mark Helton with Customs.   Mr. Helton was extremely informative.  He spoke to us about the individual aircraft that they use and what each is capable of.  He went on to explain to us that their mission was to manage and protect our nation’s borders.  He informed us that on any given day, a pilot could go from Hammond to Canada to the Caribbean Islands and back.  We all found this visit extremely interesting.  We are sincerely grateful for the level of protection that we receive from this agency.

                The day’s focus on economic development was much more than educational and enlightening.  This was a great opportunity to see just what awesome assets Tangipahoa Parish has to offer.  I am extremely appreciative of Southeastern Louisiana University for allowing me the opportunity to be involved in such a remarkable program as Leadership Tangipahoa and to explore the wonderful parish that I am proud to call home.     

Farrah Laciura
Southeastern Louisiana University
Leadership Tangipahoa Class of 2009                    

US Customs Picture:
Back row (left to right); Chuck Muse, Tom Tolar, Kim Coates, John Vaughan, Brandon Schanzbach, Joe Mier, Farrah Laciura
Middle row:  Kim Notariano, Andy Currier, Melanie Zaffuto, Terry Lynn Smith, Dennis Wallette, Deborah Anderson, Patti Tregle, Justin Crossie
Front row:  Heather Thompson, Christina Traylor Rusca, Robin Abrams, Sheila Tate, Cindy Grega, Christine Patrick, Brandi Hartman, Elsbet Smith, Amber Burch, Jennifer Drude, and Glen Villalobos

Economic Dev. Picture:
Back row (left to right): Farrah Laciura, Joe Mier, Brandon Schanzbach, Tom Tolar, Terry Lynn Smith, John Vaughan, Dennis Wallette, Chuck Muse, Amber Burch, Melanie Zaffuto, Kim Coates, Patti Tregle, Deborah Anderson, Kim Notariano, Christina Traylor Rusca, and Andy Currier
Middle row: Christine Patrick, Sheila Tate, Cindy Grega, Brandi Hartman, US Congressman Steve Scalise, Robin Abrams, Elsbet Smith, Heather Williams, Heather Thompson, and Justin Crossie
Front Row: Jennifer Drude and Glen Villalobos.